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Preview, Predictions, Injuries and Starting XI for Sporting KC v Montreal Impact

Sporting Kansas City hit the road to face the Montreal Impact to start the second half of the season.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday, June 25, 2016, at 6:30 PM CST (SKCTV/MLS Live), Sporting Kansas City head to Canada to face the Montreal Impact. The Impact are currently sitting in 4th place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points, while Sporting KC sit at 5th in the Western Conference with 21 points (though Montreal have three games in hand). Sporting have played Eastern Conference teams just four times this year, with a 3-1 record. Ironically their only loss in the East is to a terrible DC United squad.

SKC lead the all-time series (6-3-1) and have won the last four meetings between the teams (including a 2-1 home win last season). When traveling to Montreal, Sporting have won two in a row and are 3-1-1 lifetime. Unfortunately those were different Kansas City teams. While Sporting have won two straight (one in MLS play and one in the US Open) they didn't really look good in either victory. In their last 12 league games, Sporting are just 2-7-3. Ouch.

Maybe the Dallas game will be the beginning of the turn around we look back on in a few months. Dallas are a good team and while there were some bad calls, Sporting did what they needed to do to win. Montreal are just 1-2-5 in their last eight, so it's not really much better.

Suspended:

– Sporting KC: None

– Montreal: None

Suspended Next Yellow Card:

– Sporting KC: Dom Dwyer

– Montreal: None

Injuries:

– Sporting KC:

OUT: None

QUESTIONABLE: Nuno Coelho (hamstring strain), Soni Mustivar (left quad contusion)

– Montreal:

OUT: Andres Romero (torn ACL), Donny Toia (hamstring injury), Ignacio Piatti (left hand surgery, Marco Donadel (right ankle), Calum Mallace (foot injury)

Sporting Kansas City’s Last Five: W/L/L/D/W

Montreal’s Last Five: D//D/L/W/D

Goal Leader(s):

– Sporting KC:  Dom Dwyer (6)

– Montreal: Ignacio Piatti (8)

Starting XI Prediction:

Melia

Abdul-Salaam – Olum – Opara – Medranda

Feilhaber – Espinoza – Mustivar

Peterson – Dwyer – Davis

Rest of the 18: Kann, Rubio, Myers, Hallisey, Mapp, Nagamura, Ellis

With the injuries to Coelho and Mustivar and the news that Jordi Quintilla has been released, it's hard to know who will play. I'd actually like to see Brad Davis drop into the midfield, Jimmy Medranda move up top and Amadou Dia return to the starting lineup. That said, Peter Vermes has shown no propensity to make that many changes. Instead, Davis appears to have recovered from the flu so he can return to the starting lineup and Vermes' boy, Paulo Nagamura, will probably play in the midfield with Benny playing deep again, against his wishes.

[Update: I'm hearing that Mustivar is healthy, so I'll say he starts and we have our traditional midfield.]

I'm going to leave Jacob Peterson as a starter, though I just don't think it makes any sense. His game against Orlando where he scored and assisted on a goal will probably buy him 10 more starts than he deserves.To be fair, he has more goals than Graham Zusi, who will be busy sitting on the bench with Matt Besler against Columbia in the Copa America Third place game.

The good news for Sporting KC is that Ignacio Piatti is out. He has been by far one of the best players in the league this year. His eight goals lead the Impact and will be missed. Didier Drogba is also not nearly as good without someone like Piatti able to get him the ball. Montreal are also without Donadel who is an underrated midfielder and has a scorcher of a shot from distance.

Trying to predict this game is unfortunately something no one really wants me to do. SKC are just 2-4-2 on the road this year and just 0-4-2 in their last six road games. They haven't shown me anything to make me believe they will turn it around on Saturday. The only solace is that Montreal is 1-1-2 over their last four at home. The real problem is draws aren't going to be good enough for Sporting KC to make the playoffs, though it's obviously better than a loss.

Prediction: 1-0 Montreal Impact Win

For those of you who have never seen my previews, I'm usually wrong. Let's just hope for that.